Raffi Tchakmakjian

Use the Cloud to Go Mobile

When it comes to adopting new technology, it used to be that small companies would watch what larger ones were doing and then adapt the same idea to a smaller scale. But with the mobile cloud, it's the other way around.

Most of the time, it's SMBs leading the way. A large component of our customer base is either an SMB, or even if they are part of a larger enterprise, they're a smaller "entrepreneurial" unit within that enterprise that behaves as though it were an SMB.

Small Businesses Can React Faster

Why? Most large enterprises have defined processes and multiple departments involved in every technological deployment, which inhibits their ability to create rapid mobile adoption. When you think large enterprise, you think in terms of lengthy projects, with multiple certification and testing phases. There's an established process. Whereas a typical SMB will react to the market and get there as quickly as possible.

So the idea is to be able to implement solutions very quickly with little tax on your infrastructure and operations -- and the benefit of the cloud is that it allows you to do all that. You can quickly deploy mobile applications on a cloud-based infrastructure.

The Cloud Allows Synchronization

The beauty of using the cloud for mobile applications is that you can have most or all of the processing happening on the Web. So you might see different versions of an application in, say, the Apple App Store and the Android Marketplace, but those are typically the same, with the only differences in the front end. If I'm an IT executive at a small company with 60 or 70 users to manage, I can rest assured that with a cloud-based application such as email or CRM, it will be synchronized on all these different devices across the workforce. If we didn't have the cloud, we'd have to write a different application for each of these devices.

End User Demand for the Cloud

This trend toward mobile apps residing in the cloud is part of the general consumerization of IT. We used to live in a world where an IT department would command and control, dictating to users: "These are the devices you can use, you have no choice." Now the momentum has completely changed. Users want iPhone, iPad and Android apps because they've seen for themselves the benefits of using them in their personal lives. They're saying, "Why do I have to give up these useful devices and my favorite apps when I know I could be doing business work on them?"

A lot of application vendors and developers out there are recognizing this and are writing applications for that kind of use. And as users start adopting cloud-based mobile applications for business, it will open the floodgates. Google, Microsoft and Apple are all offering or launching cloud services. A large share of enterprises, including Fortune 50 organizations, is now using the cloud.

Photo Credit: @iStockphoto.com/daboost